September was an interesting month for our family. The first part of the month was spent watching weather reports. The watching eventually turned into running away from Hurricane Irma.
The morning we evacuated, we had 45 minutes to pack and get on the road. I told the kids to bring two favorite items to bring with them. Piper chose a play sword and bow, and Londyn decided on a purse and stuffed animal. I grabbed a few pairs of clothes and a few goodies stashed away in the freezer. We needed food for the trip, so (frozen) homemade muffins and granola were perfect.
Irma downgraded to a weaker hurricane than first predicted before reaching Tampa Bay. We were able to return home after a week on the road. I had to toss everything in my freezer and refrigerators because the power was off for 5 days.
The second half of September was spent in Alaska with Dustin’s family, including his 94 year-old grandfather who arranged the trip.
Upon arriving in Anchorage, we spent two days touring the city before taking a small plane to a wilderness lodge on the Alaska Peninsula. The week-long time in the wilderness was incredible. We caught silver salmon, watched baby bears play with their mama, walked the shore of the Bering Sea, and ate plenty of fresh salmon and moose.
We just boarded the plane to return home.
It’s been a long month—an emotional and exciting one.
Once we return home, I need to restock everything I lost in my refrigerators and freezers. I’ve already warned Dustin about the large grocery bill we’ll probably have over the next few weeks since I need to replace even the basics—mayo, maple syrup, mustard, etc.
The good news is that many of the freezer foods I lost were prep-ahead meals that were made with basic pantry ingredients. High on my list is granola, particularly today’s granola recipe.
This granola recipe has quickly become one of my absolute favorites to make once a month in large batches and freeze for later. I can eat this granola for breakfast, lunch, a snack, dessert—whenever, it’s that good.
The cacao nibs provide a healthy dose of chocolate. The maple syrup and olive oil provide the perfect balance of sweet and acidic. And the dried fruit—cherries and apricots—add an extra touch of sweetness and chewiness.
Sweet and Salty Chocolate Granola
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (285g)
- 2 cups seeds pumpkin and/ or sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup dried cherries roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup dried apricots roughly chopped
- rimmed baking sheet
- parchment paper
- large bowl
- Preheat the oven to 300F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, seeds, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, and salt.
- Pour the olive oil and maple syrup over the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.
- Spread the granola over the parchment paper. Bake the granola for 45 minutes, until toasted and golden.
- Once the granola has been removed from the oven, stir in the dried fruit. Enjoy the granola warm, or allow it to cool before storing in containers. The granola will keep on the counter for about a week, in the fridge for a few weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
This is my new favourite granola. We have been eating it every morning with kefir and raspberries for weeks now! It’s such a wonderful combination of salty and sweet. I also like the use of seeds instead of nuts (although I love nuts). We live in a fairly remote area in Northern Ontario, and nuts are crazy expensive here if you can find them! Lol! Seeds are much more accessible in our area. Thank you for all the recipes!
Does the cocoa nibs melt? I have never used them before.
Hey Renee, They don’t melt.
So many granola recipes call for oats. I’m not allowed to eat them right now. Do you have any ideas of what non-grain food might substitute? Thanks for the delicious looking recipe.
Glad you (and your home) are safe from hurricanes and traveling. Sorry about all your food. That’s happened to me a few times with power failures lasting a week. It’s a pain and such a waste.
Thank you, Dorothy. This recipe is made without any oats: https://livesimply.me/2017/05/19/nut-and-seed-maple-granola-grain-and-gluten-free/. Enjoy!
Thank you for the link! You’re a sweetheart.
I was wondering if another nut could be subbed for some of the pumpkin/sunflower seeds? Thank you for all your delicious recipes!!
Hey Virginia, Definitely! I think another nut sub would work well. If the nuts are large, I’d break them up a bit before adding the nuts. This recipe can be made in a variety of ways–even changing up the fruit.
Wow, what an exciting month! So glad you guys didn’t have a damaged house, but that stinks that you lost so much food.
This granola looks delicious! Love the idea of the cacao nibs.
Thank you, Erica!